The juvenile curfew ordinance was one of the topics of note during the December Minden City Council Meeting. This ordinance has been in development over recent months, spurred on by the Safety Initiative Program, which has been working to put forth legislation to curb the recent uptick in crime the City of Minden has experienced.
“Along with the safety initiative program, the city attorney, and city judge, we have worked tirelessly on a piece of legislation to help lower juvenile and gang-related that are plaguing our city streets,” said Justin Smith, President of the Minen Police Association.
“This curfew will give police officers the tools they need to help prevent juveniles from committing or being a victim of violent or destructive crimes. Will this solve the whole problem? No. But it’s the first step and an immediate short term and low-cost solution for a very long term problem that is plaguing our city.”
However, some members of the public gave their input, questioning the intentions of the new ordinance and whether it would be effective in its goal of curtailing crime.
Local citizen Dennis Miles said during the meeting, “I’m going to ask the council not to go with that curfew.”
“I have yet to hear any fact of the crime that happens from 10 pm to 5 am in the morning. Haven’t heard any statistics. I hear that we have a juvenile problem.”
“This curfew is an invasion of privacy. How are you going to ascertain who is seventeen and under? You’re going to be stopping everybody who looks like they’re 17 and under,” said Miles.
“No laws are being broken. You see somebody after 10 pm and you think that they’re 17 or under. You’re going to stop them, ask them for id, where you’ve been, where you going, what’s in your pockets. It’s all an invasion of privacy.”
Given the line of questioning, Councilman Micahel Roy of Dist. D asked City Attorney Jimbo Yocom if he had noticed an increase in crime committed by juveniles recently.
“I can’t give you an exact number. I can tell you this, the amount of juveniles committing violent crimes are up. The number of violent crimes, and crimes period, committed by juveniles are definitely up over the last year, year, and a half,” said Yocom.
Councilman Wayne Edwards of Dist. A vocalized his indecisiveness on letting this ordinance pass, instead stating that his focus was more so on the staffing of the Minden Police Department.
“I’m kinda stuck in the middle on this ordinance, but what I will say is that I would like to see our police department fully staffed, so you can provide services in areas where we’re having repeated crimes. Most of the time you don’t have enough staff available to respond to the calls,” said Edwards.
“One of the worst things I think we can ever do, is to put an ordinance or procedure in the place that we can not afford to enforce. I would like to see you have a larger staff, so for the area with repeated crimes, you can be there.”
“Last month I think you said District A had 61 incidents, so be it, most of that occured in the same area. If we had patrols available for those areas, there’s no doubt in my mind that would decrease some of it,” said Edwards.
Ultimately, the ordinance did not pass, failing with 3 votes opposed, those being Councilmen Edwards, Terika Williams-Walker of Dist. B, and Vincen Bradford of Dist. C, and two votes in favor, those being Councilmen Michael Roy of Dist. D and Pam Bloxom of Dist. E.